Bringing back the narrative

I was poring over the stories featured in Nieman Narrative Digest and saw this interesting Philadelphia Inquirer (yes the same that announced lay off last week) special report on how Indian and American authorities built a case against educated and influential Indian nationals apparently selling drugs “illegally” via the Internet. What made this story different was the writing style it used: narrative. It reads like a novel.


Fighting a fever with pepper cardamom tea, the graduate student raced through his homework and e-mailed a PowerPoint presentation to classmates. American business school seemed so easy. Group homework assignments. Exam review sessions. Online classes. Open-book tests!

And now, on April 18, 2005, Akhil Bansal stood on the cusp of earning an MBA and a master’s in health-care finance from Temple University, golden American degrees that would catapult his career back home in India.

He smirked at the irony of that evening’s twin assignments, health-care marketing and generic-drug risk management, subjects in which he had more than a passing interest.

If they only knew…

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Erwin Oliva

Putting a dent on the universe one day at a time